The Upward Bound program at Colorado State University-Pueblo Grant has been renewed with a five-year grant of nearly $2 million from the U. S. Department of Education to continue its work assisting youth to succeed in a program of postsecondary education.
Since 1968, CSU-Pueblo’s TRiO Upward Bound program has served almost 3,000 Pueblo high school students, and has brought in approximately $15 million in external funds to the Pueblo community. The renewal grant will inject an additional $1.9 million into the community over the next five years. Notable local graduate from the CSU-Pueblo program include NewsFirst5 reporter David Ortiviz, NeighborWorks of Pueblo Executive Director Lionel Trujillo, and Jennifer Barela, Regional Representative for Senator Michael Bennett.
Over the past few years, the Upward Bound Program has implemented a more vigorous academic year program as well as an innovative six-week summer program. Upward Bound (UB) Program helps participants generate the skills and motivation necessary to complete a program of secondary education and to enter and succeed in a program of postsecondary education. CSU-Pueblo is fortunate to host four TRIO programs — Upward Bound, Veterans Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the Educational Opportunity Center. CSU-Fort Collins is the only other institution in Colorado that hosts this number of programs.
The CSU-Pueblo Upward Bound Program provides services to 87 eligible secondary school youths that develop the skills and motivation necessary for them to graduate from high school and succeed in college. Project services focus on year-round rigorous academic support, college preparation, financial literacy, leadership development, and cultural and community service. Eligible program participants (who include foster, homeless and otherwise disadvantaged youth) are recruited from four target schools that contain a large percentage of the lowest income and most poorly educated residents in the state. Hispanic Americans are 41 percent of the population and represent the largest minority ethnic group represented in Upward Bound.
Program Director Dr. Ismana Carney said the program accepts and prepares participants who have a demonstrated potential for college and commitment to taking a rigorous program of study.
“While federal student financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, CSU Pueblo’s TRiO Upward Bound program helps high school students overcome class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education,” said Carney.
The academic year is designed around a four-hour, twice-weekly After School Precollege Program offering rigorous academic instruction and tutoring that participants are required to attend. Special emphasis is placed on the mastery of mathematics, science, reading, and writing with a strong focus and additional support for student interested in STEM fields. All students are expected to enroll in college preparatory courses in the respective high schools in order to remain in Upward Bound.
Each participant receives individualized career and academic plans which are closely monitored and adjusted throughout the academic year based on students’ transcripts, summer program academic reports, scores on the American College Test/PLAN (Pre-ACT) and overall needs assessments conducted at the end of the school year. Additionally, the project’s academic curriculum delivered during the Precollege Program at each target school site will track participants who demonstrate ability starting in the 9th grade, into Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses by their junior and senior years. Working closely with our target schools, project Counselors will also provide guidance and assistance to participants who are on the verge of, or have dropped out of school.
A six-week Summer Precollege Academy is held at the University with a curriculum that is aligned with Colorado State Academic Standards. Instructors will apply equally rigorous standardized assessments to measure success while delivering rigorous academic courses in a formal and innovative format. The Summer Academy ensures that students are prepared to integrate an increasing knowledge of and proficiency in core subjects reflected in end of summer test scores over four years of project participation. Additional community service and cultural activities augment the rigorous academic curriculum, tutoring and leadership development of the Summer Academy. Finally, a Summer Bridge Program provides an academic and transitional boost for recently graduated senior project participants who are transitioning into postsecondary studies.
UB Summer program participant Sabrina Garnhart, a senior at Centennial High School, said the summer program allowed her to interact and befriend students from other schools in the community.
“ The summer program opened up my world to a greater amount of the community,” Garnhart said. “It got me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to exercise my leadership skills. It truly got me to be a better me.”
All Upward Bound program activities and services are free to students enrolled in the program. Please contact CSU-Pueblo’s Upward Bound at 719-549-2750 for application materials. Currently, the program is accepting applications only for incoming freshmen.